Fourth Largest Cave In The World Discovered In Iran

The fourth largest cave on the planet, Ghar-e-Dosar, as seen on Google EarthA team of Iranian spelunkers exploring an underground cave system near Mehriz, Yazd have made a surprising discovery. Last year, the group of cavers stumbled across a massive underground chamber and after taking careful and exact measurements of its size, the cave is now confirmed to be the fourth largest in the world.

This new cavern is part of the Ghar-e-Dosar cave system located in central Iran, which has been known about for some time and is a popular destination for cavers in the region. The system hasn’t been completely mapped however so new aspects of it are still being discovered. Last February a team of eight entered the largest chamber there and set about taking precise measurements of its total expanse. Those numbers have all been crunched now and what they found is simply amazing.

The subterranean room measures 1263 feet across and 869 feet wide, covering roughly the equivalent of 20 acres. The cavern slopes downward over its length starting with a height of about 230 feet and plunging as low as 469 feet at its deepest point. Those dimensions are large enough to put it above Majlis al Jinn cavern in Oman and slightly behind the Torca del Carlista in Spain on the list of the world’s largest cave rooms.

It should be noted that this chamber ranks as the fourth largest in terms of size for a single cavern. Ghar-e-Dosar isn’t nearly as large as Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, however, which doesn’t have a single chamber that compares in size but does stretch for more than 400 miles of underground passageways.

Thanks to our friends at the Adventure Journal for sharing this story.

[Photo Credit: Iran Speleo]

Help Wanted: one witch, pays £50,000

In these hard economic times it’s nice to know there are still good jobs out there. Wookey Hole, Somerset, England, is advertising for a witch.

Wookey Hole, famous for its beautiful limestone caves, is home to a family theme park. The company that manages the park wants to hire someone to play a witch and is willing to pay them £50,000 ($81,000) a year to cackle at visitors, teach courses in magic, and (here’s the catch) live in the caves. It’s not the greatest job in the world, but it beats flipping burgers and asking “Do you want eye of newt with that?”

According to legend there really was a witch in the Wookey Hole Caves. Back in the Middle Ages, an evil old witch who had been unlucky in love cursed a young couple so they would never marry. The young groom-to-be was so despondent over the loss of his love that he became a monk, and swore revenge. One day he entered the cave, blessed the underground river he found flowing through it, and splashed the water onto the witch, turning her into a stalagmite that can still be seen to this day.

It sounds like a fun way to make some money off an old legend, but one thing confuses me. Considering their name, why don’t they open a Star Wars theme park and hire a Wookiee?

Check out some of these other wacky laws, place names and signs from around the world!


Turkmenistan’s “Door to Hell”

Door to Hell, englishrussia.comWe’ve previously reported here at Gadling on the intriguing, surreal and downright bizarre tourist attractions of the Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan. Now today comes further “fuel” for the country’s already odd reputation. Website English Russia is reporting on what local residents have dubbed the “Door to Hell” – a cavernous, flaming pit outside the small town of Darvaza which has been continuously burning for more than 35 years.

While Biblical alarmists might point to the “Door of Hell” as yet another sign of a coming apocalypse, the phenomenon apparently has a scientific explanation. According local residents, geologists were digging in the area for gas deposits and stumbled upon a huge underground cavern. The geologists apparently concluded the cavern was filled with poisonous gas, and decided (as any sane rational scientist might do) that they should light the cavern on fire to burn off the excess. The hole has been burning for more than 35 years since. Though there’s some debate on English Russia about whether this flaming pit is actually located in Uzbekistan, some further investigation confirms it is indeed in Turkmenistan.

Perhaps the “Door to Hell” won’t help put Turkmenistan back on your list of 1,000 Places to Visit Before You Die, but if you’re a Satanist, energy company executive or just plain curious, maybe it’s worth the long trek out to Central Asia.